Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Exhausted Mom Tips~ March 2, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:06 am
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The last 12 hours have worn this momma slap out! Before I dive into my mom tips, you need the backstory.

Last night, while making breakfast for dinner, I was pulling double duty and having my 5 year old do her reading books at the table.

“Buh-uh-buh-buh-la-eh”

Enter two teenagers with packets about registering for classes NEXT YEAR.

“What?! Say it again!”

And she did, louder and slower than the first time.

Grounded sister wails from the back of the house.

“I have no clue what you’re saying! Spell it.”

My gravy was at the critical point here, so it’s not like I could just walk away and look at the word. I try to quickly grab something from the freezer and ice cream falls out on my feet.

“B-u-b-b-l-e.”

Now I’m all about my little kindergartener learning to read but sometimes you just want to scream, “sweet Jesus, it’s bubble!!!”

Later in the evening…all is quiet and a thunderstorm erupts. Big black dog turns into tiny lap dog at the crack of thunder. So instead of peaceful slumber, my night was filled with a pacing pup that intermittently jumped on the bed, whimpering and vibrating like a wind-up toy.

So let’s just say this morning was off. I’m trying to balance the checkbook and thought everyone was getting ready. Y’all know what they say about assumptions?? I bellow, “last call,” and realize youngest daughter is chilling in her pjs, chatting with big sister about the caboodle she wants for her birthday. Jesus take the wheel. I have never dressed a child so fast in my life. I yank Emma’s hair into a side pony for Eighties Day and we race out the door, late. I throw the car in reverse, looking into a mirror for the first time today.

Oh. Lawd.

Now for the tips….

  1. Upon realizing you look a hot mess, throw on some shades. Then it looks intentional instead of like you forgot to brush your hair.image
  2. It’s totally acceptable to throw four cartons of ice cream across the room because someone left just enough to say they didn’t eat it all and now they’re cascading out onto your toes.
  3. When it’s “throwback Thursday” on the radio, it’s wise to remember your teens have cell phones at the ready to make you a Snapchat feature. Better hone your car dancing skills. (WordPress said you can’t see the video so only my Facebook peeps will experience that pleasure.)
  4. Lastly, for now: laugh at yourself, hug your babies when they’re on your last nerve and thank Jesus for sunglasses, coffee, 90s hip-hop & grace.
 

~Annonymous Tears~ February 3, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:51 am
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Today started out as one of those days where the tears were just beneath the surface. It was the craziest thing because I couldn’t even pinpoint the source of my sudden sensitivity. The feeling of tension in my chest was ever present as was the constricting of my throat as I choked back the waterworks.

For those who don’t know, I’m a natural cryer, meaning I do it often and for seemingly no real good reason. I’ve been accused of being tenderhearted more than a time or two in my life, which is a blessing & a curse. Typically, even if no one else can comprehend what is causing my emotional distress, I usually know which is what had me flabbergasted this morning.

Rather than try to hash it out, I chose avoidance. I attempted to beat the weepies into submission. First I tried the death machine, (elliptical in layman’s terms), to no avail. Next up, I pounded the pavement. For a solid 2 miles my mind was jumbled & I was growing more frustrated by the minute. The release of endorphins usually works. That’s when I started talking to Jesus, nothing heavy, just a “Hey Jesus, what’s up with me today?!” There was a nice, soft breeze while I ran accompanied by the lightest of showers, and that’s when I got my answer and felt at peace.

Sometimes, it’s ok to just be sad; inexplicably, possibly even somewhat irrationally sad, because even if we don’t know the source of our sorrow, Jesus does and he knows precisely what to do with it. It could be there is someone you love going through hell and that sudden sadness you feel is a stirring in your spirit to pray for them, even when no name or specific need comes to mind. Maybe there’s something in your own life that you haven’t given much thought to and this is the Lord’s way of calling attention it so that it can be dealt with before it festers. It could be something else altogether!

My point is, when those feelings of overwhelming sadness strike, rather than run from it, (literally in my case), take a moment and pray about it. There is a verse that has always brought me comfort that comes to mind and I hope that it brings you peace as well.

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Even when unnamed, silent tears fall, they are never in vain. Not one goes unnoticed by the One who knows the number of hairs on your head. Let that sink in today.

 

~Your Love Never Quits~ January 20, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:54 am
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This blog has a stat tracker that keeps me in the know on site traffic. While not elaborate, the details include: number of visitors, the posts that were read on any given day and the most informative, search terms that led readers to my site. There are two search terms that I see frequently. The first, “Valerie Rutledge blog,” (thank you, by the way, to whomever follows my writings specifically). The second, and the one I want to address today, “you never loved me.”

It shocks me how often this phrase appears. Each time it grips my heart, seizing it up for just a moment. While I hope that finding their way to my blog ministers to them and brings healing, it pains me to know how many people are suffering in this capacity. I imagine downcast faces, sitting in front of a dimly lit screen, seeking answers for why they’ve found themselves in a loveless relationship or perhaps one which has recently ended.

My heart aches for you, that you’ve found yourself in this place of searching, trying to understand what went wrong. What did you miss or could you have done differently? The pain that comes from love that’s been lost is real and deep and incomparable to any other.

While I sincerely wish I could bring healing to your broken heart or answer the burning question of “why,” I cannot. What I can do is point you to a love that never fails. I can introduce you to the One that will never lead your thoughts down the path of “you never loved me.” His name is Jesus and a relationship with Him is a sure thing. He will never leave you nor forsake you. When you stumble or when you screw up monumentally, His love for you is steadfast.

I am not so gullible to believe that this will erase whatever pain you feel in this moment, when your heartbreak is fresh and the grief comes in waves. But I pray it soothes your soul, like the warmth of the sun as it kisses your skin or the familiarity of a trusted friend’s embrace. Let the Lord’s love mend your broken places today and know, sweet friend, that I am in your corner. IMG_1918

 

~Keepin’ It Real~ July 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:41 am
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I have a feeling that some of you are about to be seriously disappointed in me. I should start by telling you, I don’t swear, honest I don’t. I used to cuss like a sailor back in my pre-Jesus-loving days but I have since been redeemed and turned from my potty mouth ways. However, moments ago, I let a four letter word slip….and there was a witness!

It’s been one of those mornings where I feel like my brain is in a fog. I’ve tried to function like a normal human being but have found it rather impossible. So naturally I assumed I just needed another dose of caffeine. The coffee had gone lukewarm so I had to zap it in the microwave because coffee just isn’t coffee unless it’s scorching hot. Right as I went to grab my super cute mug from the machine of fire, my hand slipped and the nectar of the heavens went flying everywhere, including all over me. I did mention how hot I like my coffee, right?! Y’all it stung…seriously…and you know how I feel about my coffee so seeing it spill into the floor was a crushing blow. Before I could even think, the dirty word started to slip out. I caught myself midway through the “sh” sound and tried to throw on the brakes. So what came out was a whispered, slightly slurred, version of the word. I heard something behind me and slowly turned around to see Peyton…laughing. In my anguish I’d forgotten I was not alone. I started to tell him I was sorry for the slip when through his laughter he yelled, “REPENT”!!

That kid.

As I mopped up my mess, I did apologize, to Peyton & Jesus, for my faux pas. And I was thankful. Thankful for grace, even in the small moments. Thankful for kids who know their momma is human and can forgive her shortcomings. Thankful for a God who loves me, even when I slip in frustration. Thankful for the gift of repentance that draws us closer to that very same God. And lastly, thankful for the Keurig that quickly replaced my go-go juice so that this day can continue 😉coffee

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV) 

 

 

~Word of the Year~ January 5, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:51 am
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In January of 2014, I accepted a challenge from a fellow Christian blogger to choose ONE word as a motto of sorts for the year. This girl right here chose “reckless.” My thought process was to live reckless for God, letting go of my need to have all the details ahead of time and just follow where He led me.

Well, that’s not how my year started. I was reckless alright but not in a good way. As is oftentimes the case, right about the time I made up my mind to follow hard after Jesus, that’s the precise moment when the devil tried to intervene. Our number one enemy is a crafty little evildoer, so he found my weakest point and went to work convincing me that all hope was lost.  I found myself floundering and confused, feeling pretty darn certain that my whole life was falling apart. For a brief, yet excruciatingly painful time, I lived reckless with my heart. I shut out my family, my friends and worst of all, my Jesus. But as smart as satan may be, God is greater. Just when my heart couldn’t take anymore, He sent His saints to pull me back up and snap me out of my funk.

In retrospect, I can see that nothing was as bad as I had made it out to be. I let my guard down and gave the enemy a foothold into my life and it could have ruined me if not for God. I spent the remainder of 2014 living reckless in the way that I had intended, leaning hard into God’s will for my life and trusting without fail that His ways, while sometimes difficult to understand, are higher than my own.

Now that a new year is here, I debated on choosing a word for fear that it would be an open invitation for the devil to come at me again. Now I ain’t scared, but I ain’t crazy either and I’m not one to go looking for trouble when things are going just fine. But I don’t want just fine. I want spectacular.

So, this year, my word is GUARDED.

Not in the way that you might think.

“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” (2 Thes 3:3 ESV)

I will guard my mind from thoughts that have no business occupying my time.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil 4:8 ESV)

I will guard my heart, filling it with promises from God so that I don’t find myself questioning His love for me.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39 NIV)

I will guard my mouth, making it a priority to choose my words carefully.

“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” (Prov 13:3 ESV)

Lastly, I will guard my time, taking care to not overextend myself or my family to the point of exhaustion.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12 ESV)

I am believing for a beautiful 2015, for me, my family, my church and for you, my friends. A closing bit of advice, if you decide to choose a word for 2015….remember to choose wisely 😉

be on guard

 

 

~Get Your Twinkle On~ November 4, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:24 am
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This time change thing has been wreaking havoc on our little household. Last night I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30, but don’t judge, so did runner boy! This morning, my littles sprang out of bed at 6:30 which would have been fine, I was up, but they were GRUMPY! Here I was trying to make my way to coffee without making eye contact when all they wanted to do was squall in my face:

“Emma touched me!”

“Bella is on my blankie!”

“I don’t want that for breakfast!”

And so on, and so on.

Mind you we hadn’t even gone up the stairs at this point, you know, where the coffee pot resides. As I’m trying to navigate my way through the madness, one thing was on repeat in my muddled mind:

“in any and every circumstance I have learned…. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  (Phil 4:12-13 NASB)

Yes Lord, even this, I can handle with you on my side.

Eventually we made it upstairs and when I rounded the corner into the dining room, this is what I saw.IMG_3164I leave Christmas lights over the doors to the back deck year round. I guess hubs forgot to unplug them before bed last night because normally they’re not on in the mornings. But man am I glad they were. Why, do you ask? Something about these twinkling lights brought me peace and a feeling of happiness I can’t really explain. I love, love, love Christmas lights and I suppose their presence brought about an instant calm. All which got me thinking, shouldn’t we as followers of Christ be like the sparkly lights, bringing happiness, peace and a sense of calm to the world around us?

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16 NASB)

Everywhere we turn, we are faced with opportunities to share the love of God, through our speech and more importantly, through our actions. Each interaction we have with others brings a choice. We can choose to hear quickly, speak slowly and aim for peace. The alternative would be to react with haste, not taking pause to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, resulting in strife. One option shows Christ in us while the other may leave people questioning this faith we claim to possess.

So today, I challenge us all to shine bright for Jesus, causing the darkness to turn and flee. Choose to be as a lovely strand of twinkling lights, bringing beauty into a world full of ugliness.

 

 

~Not My Words~ May 1, 2014

“I use words as an expression…my words point to the Word….THE WORD has a name…Jesus Christ.”

Several times since beginning this writing thing, I have had people praise my posts.  There have been those who have reached out for counsel after feeling convicted from something I said.  I have received private messages with words like, “This post was for me.  I needed to hear this today, more than you know.”  Words of encouragement, prayers for blessing & pats on the back have not been lacking.

I don’t say these things to brag, quite the contrary.  I tell you this to give God every bit of the glory.  You see, I rarely have a moment when I sit down to write where the words that pour out are mine.  I do share life experiences, funny child-rearing stories and my testimony, one little piece at a time.  But what is reaching people, changing lives and tugging on heartstrings, has absolutely nothing to do with me.  It is Jesus.  His words, His promises, His grace & forgiveness, His love, His ever present help & strength.

When I write or talk about Jesus, my desire and hope is that I will be hidden and that He alone will be seen, heard and magnified.  Because I know that my words are weak and my mind is feeble, I long for the Holy Spirit to takeover at every ordained opportunity.

I am thankful that the Lord chooses to use me in this, my ministry.  I am also thankful for my brothers & sisters in Christ who have come alongside me and encouraged me in this gift.  And yes, that is how I view this blog, as my gift from the Lord to be used to point people to Him.  I am grateful to fellow Christian bloggers whose words have prodded me, nurtured me, brought me peace and left me in complete awe of what a beautiful Savior we live and breathe for.  I just wanted to take today to say thanks.

This song has quickly become one of my favorites.  This particular version was quite lengthy and I wasn’t sure why until midway through, a gentleman stepped up to the mic and started reading.  The quote above is what caught my attention and prompted this post.  Listen.  Let the song & his words settle deep into your soul.  Be blessed today knowing that “His perfect love could not be overcome.”